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Wednesday, March 31, 2021

A Prenuptial Agreement as an Estate Planning Document

Prenuptial agreements, or “prenups,” seem to have developed a bad reputation over the years. Allegations of dooming a marriage or preparing for a divorce before the marriage has even begun have become intertwined with the concept of a prenup. A prenuptial agreement, however, can be an extremely valuable legal tool. While there may be controversy surrounding prenups, we invite you to look past the common misconceptions surrounding them. Prenups have many uses, even in the estate planning context.

A Prenuptial Agreement as an Estate Planning Document

Marriage and family relationships are complex. Through proper planning and implementing the right legal tools, however, those complexities can be navigated and memorialized in a comprehensive estate plan that meets your unique needs and that of your loved ones. For instance, did you know that, in both North Carolina and South Carolina, you cannot disinherit your spouse? The law prevents it, in a way. Under state law, it does not matter how much you want to leave your children in your estate because state spousal rights are stronger than those rights afforded to your children. With a prenuptial agreement, however, you may be able to craft the agreement in a way that works to help ensure your spouse only receives the portion of your estate you want and your children receive what you want them to receive.

In fact, without a prenuptial agreement in place, your spouse may be able to successfully invalidate your existing estate plan if it does not properly provide for him or her. A prenup can help place parameters on your spouse’s inheritance. It can also help protect your children from a previous marriage. Furthermore, in concert with defining what property should be considered marital and what should be considered separate, you can also protect important pieces of property such as family heirlooms that you want to see pass to specific individuals, not your spouse.

A prenup can help you protect children from a previous marriage from getting unintentionally disinherited. Some may rely on informal agreements with a spouse that after the spouse passes away, he or she will provide for children from a previous marriage, but there is nothing set in writing. This puts your children at needless financial risk. With a prenup, you can specify things such as you want your spouse to inherit a house after you pass and then the house passes to your children when he or she dies. Without a specific agreement in place to this effect, the house may go to your spouse and then straight to his or her own beneficiaries, not necessarily your children from a previous marriage, upon his or her own death.

Estate Planning Attorney

To learn more about what a prenuptial agreement can accomplish for you and your loved ones in your estate plan, talk to the knowledgeable team at Monk Law. We will review your options and help establish a solid estate plan that meets your goals. Contact Monk Law Firm today.


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| Phone: 803-594-4453
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| Phone: 704-369-9977

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